Street cleaning performance and Streetwatchers

by Nigel Bakhai on 29 January, 2013

Please find below a copy of a speech to the January 2013 Council meeting to support a Lib Dem amendment on the council’s poor performance in street cleaning and the Streetwatcher service:-

Mr Mayor. The problems with Enterprise at the start of the new rubbish and recycling contract in April-May last year are now largely behind us, but the council must not be complacent.

The recent residents survey results showed satisfaction with refuse collection at 79% down 5%, and recycling satisfaction fell 6% to 72%. Furthermore, while in 2010, 48% were “very satisfied” with Refuse collection, now only 29% are.

The numbers of missed rubbish and recycling collections since April  were way up on their 2011 figures. While October figures were on a par with the previous year, the numbers in November were again nearly 800 higher than 2011.

Fly-tipping was up by in October and November compared with 2011. 

Street washing has still not done on the Uxbridge Road in Hanwell and other parts of the borough– this should be carried every 6 months according to the contract with Enterprise but still not done after nearly 10 months!

Yes the number of roads classified as A-grade is at last showing signs of improvement back to normal expected levels from a paltry 58.64% in the period from April to end of June. December figures for street cleaning show 96% are A-grade up from 83% in October.

However,  with fewer staff to monitor street services only 20-30% of streets are being regularly checked each month – this was down to 15% in December which may account for the particularly high percentage of roads classed as A grade in that month.

That is why streetwatchers are such an important additional resource around the borough. Given that the council is checking less roads, streetwatchers provide extra eyes on the ground reporting problems in their area.

However, the Streetwatcher service is not currently being used to the max and we are aware of residents who have been waiting months, and in one case a year, to join the scheme. We welcome tonight’s announcement that the streetwatcher role at the council has been retained and made a full-time position.

We think the council should be making more of this voluntary effort, encouraging more of our residents to take part, and making it easier for everyone to report problems in their area by phone, online or by using new means such as mobile phone apps.

We welcome the recent announcement that at last the council is to start collecting food waste, cardboard and plastics on their housing estates from the summer onwards, although residents on the larger estates will have to wait a little longer for some of these services.

Nevertheless, it is going to take time  and a consistently high performance over a much longer period for the council and Enterprise to rebuild trust and restore the reputation of the refuse and recycling service. In the meantime, residents expect the council to take Enterprise to task over their failures,  and we have noted the council’s reluctance again this evening to make public their effort to fine Enterprise for their poor performance. That is why we have submitted this amendment calling on the Council to withhold the maximum sum of money from Enterprise that is contractually possible in order to cover for their failure.

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